How to Count in Arabic - dummies

By David F. DiMeo

Using Arabic for numbers and counting can be a bit tricky if you need to work extensively with numbers, such as in mathematics and accounting. Arabic number can be confusing because the rules change depending on how the numbers are being used.

To make things easier, take a look look at just the most common usage — without worrying about the more advanced rules for case and gender. Even native speakers often default to a simplified form for numbers, except in the most formal situations.

The numbers you’ll use the most often are those between 1 and 20.

1 to 20
waaHid 1
Ithnaan 2
Thalaatha 3
arbaa 4
Khamsa 5
Sitta 6
saba 7
Thamaaniya 8
tisa 9
ashara 10
aHad ashar 11
ithnaa ashar 12
thalaathat ashar 13
arbaat ashar 14
khamsat ashar 15
sittat ashar 16
sabat ashar 17
thamaaniyat ashar 18
tisat ashar 19
ishriin 20

The numbers from 21 to 99 are formed by saying the ones digit first, then wa (and) followed by the tens digit. For example, waHid wa ashriin (21 [literally: one and twenty]).

21 to 99
waHid wa ishriin 21
ithnaan wa ishriin 22
thalaathiin 30
waHid wa thalaathiin 31
ithnaan wa thalaathiin 32
arbaiin 40
khamsiin 50
sittiin 60
sabiin 70
thamaaniin 80
tisiin 90

You should read Arabic numbers in the same order as English numbers, from the largest to smallest place, except for the ones digit, which comes before the tens. So 1964 would be read “one thousand, nine hundred, four, and sixty” or alf tisa mia arba wa sittiin.

100 and higher
mia 100
mia wa waHid 101
mia wa ashara 110
mia wa khamsa wa khamsiin 155
miataan 200
thalaath mia 300
arba mia 400
khamsu mia 500
sitta mia 600
saba mia 700
thamaanii mia 800
tisa mia 900
alf 1,000